This month we recognize Jordan and his battle against Brain Cancer. The journey from diagnosis to survivorship and beyond can be filled with difficulty, frustration and pain, no matter what stage of a cancer diagnosis, but with the help of Cancer Support Community Arizona it can be a bit more bearable.
It’s also a time to ACT, so that everyone facing this serious diagnosis can have every resource to confront it, and win the battle!
Did you know…Nearly 80,000 new cases of primary brain tumors are expected to be diagnosed this year?
Jordan Medrano-Smith’s story begins while on vacation in New York City. He was having a wonderful time taking in the sights and sounds of NYC—Central Park, The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building—with his then-partner, now husband, Javier, when out-of-nowhere he had a seizure.
2,400 miles away from home he was rushed to the hospital to discover he had a brain tumor behind his right eye. Jordan was only 33 years old.
Plagued with fear and confusion, immediately upon discharge Jordan and Javier headed straight for the airport. They didn’t even return to their hotel to formally check-out; anything left behind was less important than the future of Jordan’s health.
They fled to the safety and familiarity of their home. They knew their lives would never be the same again.
Upon the insistence of a friend, they contacted Barrow Neurological Institute. Within 1 1/2 weeks of his initial diagnosis Jordan was prepping for surgery and with the support of Javier and a GoFundMe page set-up by friends Jordan could face the greatest challenge of his 33 years—life threatening surgery. Less than 6 months later, a second surgery was performed then 2 months later, rehab.
The journey was only beginning…
BUT THEN… One day while walking around downtown Phoenix and the surrounding historic neighborhoods, Jordan found Cancer Support Community Arizona (CSCAZ). He immediately felt a connection–it was the ‘right fit’!
Through the non-traditional neurological rehabilitation program, Rehab Without Walls®, Jordan started volunteering at CSCAZ as front desk support. Volunteering allowed for ‘work simulation’ as he aspired to return to the workforce sooner rather than later but more than that, Jordan was regaining his confidence and independence. Daily, Jordan would interact with other cancer survivors and their families and friends. He would ‘direct traffic’ to the newest education presentation or encourage attendance to the latest cooking class series (a personal favorite!). He would also answer questions and send e-mails to desperate please of help. Jordan was helping others by sharing CSCAZ’s many paths of support.
Jordan felt empowered!
For Jordan, Cancer Support Community Arizona helps people reclaim their lives through unconditional support. He’s seen individuals at their lowest point—fear, pain, exhaustion—and often they want to know they’re not alone; they need reassurances that they’re still in control; they long to know we’re not only listening to them but also hearing what they’re saying. In his words:
“When someone has a broken spirit, everyone STOPS what they’re doing and focuses on that person. How can we help? What do you need? We’re here for you!’ This is what Cancer Support Community Arizona provides!”
Cancer Support Community Arizona is more than a home, it’s sacred ground for the thousands of people who have walked through our doors these past 18 years. And, it’ll continue to be sacred ground with your support.
Jordan recently returned to full-time employment and feels passionate about being vocal about survivorship to encourage others because he remembers feeling “discouraged” before Cancer Support Community Arizona. Although we miss him, Jordan continues to take part in various Cancer Support Community Arizona programs and events and recently represented CSCAZ at our community partner’s holiday party where we were featured as the charity-of-choice.
With the support of Cancer Support Community Arizona, Jordan has been empowered by knowledge, sustained by community and strengthened by action.
The State of Arizona offers an INCREDIBLE opportunity for YOU to get involved and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for your donation up to $400 ($800 per married couple). The Qualifying Charitable tax credit offers a select number of nonprofits with a proven track record of serving Arizona families, strong fiscal responsibilities and commitment to quality each year with this easy to submit tax credit donation. These donations enable Cancer Support Community Arizona to open many doors to hope, courage, and community for those impacted by cancer and we are honored to be a proud of member of this opportunity.